Innovation task force a positive for Missouri business

At the heart of a capitalist economy is innovation, whether it be in the form of efficiency or new products and services. In theory, the end result is better products, consumer demand, jobs and an improved standard of living. The United States has always served as the model of capitalism, with its economic system bolstered by education and freedom that enhance and promote ingenuity and opportunity.

We all benefit to some degree when bright, educated and ambitious individuals are encouraged to pursue their dreams and flourish. Within the national economy, our states are in competition with each other to boost their own economies, and creative, innovative thinkers are not only a valuable asset but a vital one.

Thatís why itís important Missouri tries to attract and retain its most talented individuals, which is the objective of Gov. Eric Greitensí Innovation Task Force, created to explore ways to promote innovation and new technology startup businesses. Southeast Missourian reporter Mark Bliss reported on an invitation-only workshop held by the task force this past week and attended by about 35 local entrepreneurs, representatives of tech startups, bankers, investors and educators.

Drew Erdmann, who serves on the governorís task force, said the goal is to find ways to make Missouri the ďleading innovation economy in the middle of the country in the next five to 10 years.Ē

Such workshops are mining for ideas, trying to find incentives to encourage increased investment in such innovative startups. The workshop was the final of five workshops held around the state, and it fittingly came on the heels of TechWeek in Cape Girardeau, which focused on those same objectives and celebrated such advancements in the community.

The task force, a steering committee of about 30 people, will submit a report back to the governor sometime this month.

There are some exciting developments at the local level with the renovation of the old Marquette Hotel as the hub of the Marquette Tech District and home to Codefi, which is trying to attract innovative entrepreneurs. The task force was looking for ways to bolster that quest, and weíre confident the local participants who have been examining it on a daily basis had some informative input.